Pacemaker activity from submucosal interstitial cells of Cajal drives high-frequency and low-amplitude circular muscle contractions in the mouse proximal colon


Prof. Miyako Takaki, Department of Physiology II, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijo-cho, Kashihara, Nara 634-8521, Japan.
Tel: +81-744-29-8829; fax: +81-744-23-4696; e-mail:


The present study was aimed at elucidating how pacemaker activity (plateau potentials) (mean frequency: 15.9 ± 2.8 times min−1) from submucosal interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC-SM) control spontaneous contractions in the mouse proximal colon. Mechanical activities in the circular muscle direction showed high-frequency (mean frequency: 15.6 ± 2.7 times min−1) and low-amplitude (mean amplitude: 0.01 ± 0.005 g) (HFLA) rhythmic contractions. Simultaneous recordings of circular muscle mechanical activity and electrical activity from ICC-SM revealed that HFLA contractions were synchronized with plateau potentials (mean frequency: 15.9 ± 2.8 times min−1). Although low-frequency (3.5 ± 2.1 times min−1) and high-amplitude (0.12 ± 0.03 g) (LFHA) contractions in both longitudinal and circular muscle directions were synchronized with burst of action potentials in both muscle cells, these LFHA contractions were not synchronous with plateau potentials. Intracellular Ca2+ release from the internal stores through IP3 receptors is not a major factor to generate both action potentials differently from plateau potentials. Neither tetrodotoxin nor atropine affected the plateau potentials. The results reveal that the pacemaker activity from ICC-SM drives only the spontaneous HFLA (one-tenth amplitude of the LFHA circular and longitudinal muscle contractions) circular muscle contractions without control by enteric nerves.